The one mistake many families make is budgeting for college is overlooking how much they spend even before their student leaves high school. And it’s not just the applications that cost. Families spend a substantial amount on the college search process itself. Here are some ways you can save money on the college search process.
Make a Point of Signing Up on Fee Waiver Days
In many states, high school students can take advantage of Application Fee Waiver Days, which are typically held a couple of times during their senior year of high school. This is especially helpful if you want to go to school in your own state.
The way this works is if you sign up with a college or university representative right there at your high school, the school will waive the application fee. It may not seem like much now, but that’s money you can put toward college textbooks, a parking pass, or part of your tuition the next year.
Favor Colleges That Don’t Have Application Fees
This, of course, will require some research on your part, but there are some colleges that don’t have application fees. Your guidance counselor will have helped several students with their college search over the years and is sure to have a list that you can start with. Also, check if there are any local schools that may offer a fee waiver if you fall within a certain socio-economic demographic.
Dual-Credit and Advanced Placement Coursework Helps
If you are in AP or taking dual-credit coursework, you have just helped save yourself a substantial amount of money on specific entry-level college classes. If you pass the course and pass the final exam, whether in AP or dual-credit, you have earned at least 3 hours of credit for that particular course.
Students who have taken college-level coursework via their local college or university, may not only receive credit, but they may also get discounted tuition rate for those particular courses. Speak to a guidance counselor at your school for specific information on how this process works.
Carpool on College Visits
If you and some of your friends are interested in many of the same colleges and college programs, why not carpool for your campus visits? Not only is it great to have someone to bounce ideas off and maybe get another perspective on the college, but you both save a considerable amount of money on the travel.
Take Advantage of SAT / ACT Waivers and Free ACT/SAT Tutoring
In special circumstances, both the SAT and ACT may waive the fee of the exam. This can be a huge relief to many test-takers, especially if they want to take the test more than once.
College doesn’t have to break the bank if you use your time in high schools wisely. Don’t forget, too, that you can always apply for scholarships, grants, and a variety of programs through FAFSA. Talk to a school guidance counselor for more information on how to save money in the college search process.